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More on work/life balance: parents, employers and schools

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Employers must take some blame for shortage of qualified workers, according to a new report from the Radcliffe Public Policy Center. It suggests that smart organizations will stop moaning about the scarcity of talent and do something about it.

Work & Life 2000: An Employers's Guide to Supporting Parental Involvement in Education details programs and policies organizations have implemented and offers a step-by-step guide to getting started. The project is funded by the Ford Foundation.

Although employers have voiced concerns that increasing numbers of students graduate without the necessary skills to keep pace in today's fast-paced, high tech global economy, 25 percent of employees encounter difficulty when they need to attend parent-teacher conferences, according to one study cited in the report.

New focus needed

"While research shows that many employers have done a lot for education in the community, they may not be doing enough for their employees in terms of fostering their involvement in education," Cindy Costello, author of the report and senior research and policy associate at the center, told CCH.

"We need to ask employers to broaden the lens and broaden their commitment to employees, using them to carry the education message to the community," she said.

Encouraging parental involvement in education benefits employees and employers, Costello contends. Implementing policies that enable working parents to participate in their children's education improves employee morale, enhances company loyalty and increases productivity. As a result, employers experience a decrease in turnover.

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